And So Here We Are

There are times when it is difficult to find the right words for your thoughts and emotions. Sometimes it seems easier to avoid them all together, though we all know sweeping problems under the preverbal rug does nothing but cause more problems.

It doesn’t stop us from trying…

 

Friday I found myself mentally and emotionally drained. Just thinking was a monumental task. I had to walk to the store to get a few things and I looked forward to the time alone to catch my breath.

As I returned home I had a chance to see the onramp to a bridge… The sweep of the grey pavement backed by blue sky reminded me of the highway I once followed into Florida. A seemingly endless ribbon leading ever onward… In that moment I felt as if I could keep walking and follow it forever…

I wanted to… 

I didn’t obviously, yet this lead me into deeper, darker waters and I realized, no matter how many times I tall myself ‘everything is off the table’, the truth is… It never has been, nor will it ever be. It doesn’t matter how many times I tell myself things are better or I am stronger… There is and will remain a door opened in the back of my mind from which the voices whisper, telling me this way is simpler… 

Rest.

Peace.

Numbness.

Forever.

 

It is a battle I have fought since I was ten years old and I will still be fighting it the day I die. Medication and therapy help more than I can explain here, but this is a fundamental piece of who I am, just as my freckles and blue eyes. I cannot explain the why of it, just that it is…

There is also the matter of how I choose to present myself to the world. This is something which goes far beyond clothing, mannerisms, or even attitudes… It is me at the most fundamental level. It is how I see myself when everything else has been striped away.

I have spoken of ‘going full time’, meaning in my outward presentation, yet I have long been full time on the inside… Yet between the two waits fear. The fear of the simple and mundane to the complicated matters of interpersonal relationships. 

Because of this fear I have not been able to bring the two sides together; not completely and so there has remained this idea in my mind of being able to choose how I wish to be seen… 

Which is nothing more than lie I have insisted on believing because the truth is painful.

However, I would say truth is a tenacious mistress and she will not be denied forever.

As time as passed i have been gendered as female more and more regardless of what I thinking or doing. My clothing doesn’t matter and at times even what I see as obvious signs are ignored and I am addressed as Mam, Miss, Lady, or referred to as a woman. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not complaining, just the opposite, yet I have wondered more than once what had changed….

I was me.

I’m what changed.

A mentioned today, when I’m not trying, I present as androgynous at best. I’m just not obviously male and so most people will either err on the side of feminine or go with neutral greetings. Makes sense when I think about it.

As time passes I can see this happing more and more until no one will accept me as anything else.

The hard part is going to be accepting myself in the same way…

 

As so often happens, the end brings us to the beginning.

Today I had another therapy session and everything I have spoken about here was the main focus. 

This is something Jodi has pointed out more than once and is part of what has lead to my thoughts of everything being a series of circles. The thing I have to remember is each circle is a little wider than the one before and even though it may seem I a walking over the same ground, I’m really not and each step has brought be a little further away from where I started. 

However, there are some things which have remained with me, and likely will. My depression, my memories, and yes, the suicidal thoughts. The difference is in how I deal with them. In how I have gained the means to redirect them so, while I may struggle with them mentally, I do not act out.

I mentioned my tendency to overthink things, to mull them over until they are mush, then fashion them into weapons to hurt myself… thankfully mentally and not physically… though there have been times…

She pointed out something and I know she is right, I have a number of things to deal with and different levels on which I have to operate simply because of who I am…

You see, there is the depression, then there is being Transsexual. All of which is on top of something I hadn’t realized was a factor in how I deal with things, which is that I am also an artist. She pointed out the way I describe things; people, places, things, all of which I do in ways most people wouldn’t do because I see them differently. I feel them differently, and I remember them differently.

I suppose this is a long winded way of saying I’m complicated…

Still, I can see how the way I process things is different from those around me which leads me to thinking and worrying about things most people don’t ever think about or even consider. They simply don’t experience them the same way I do… sort of like how it is difficult for most people to understand how an autistic person sees the world, I’m just not as disconnected.

And so here we are.

I have to stop lying to myself and accept the truth, heart, mind, and soul.

“Acceptance” a Short film on Transgender Discrimination & Hate Crimes

**Trigger Warning**

(Violence, Bullying, Discrimination)

 

What is depicted in the film is fairly benign, yet I know even small things can be a trigger.

 

First Impressions – Underworks Padded Brief

I received my Underworks Padded Brief which I ordered directly from the manufacturer. The cost was $44.99 + S/H, the total being just under $52 with 3 day shipping.

Underworksside2

I arrived in a soft side envelope with no indication of what was inside, if you worry about nosey neighbors. Inside it was sealed in plastic. 

The material is heavier than you might expect, but still light enough to be worn all day without issue. It certainly seems as i it should last for a long time, even with daily use.

It is high waisted and helps flatten out your tummy though not as much as a dedicated shaper will. You do have to keep an eye on this as despite what one of the reviewers claimed, it can slip and bunch if you move too much. Also, the legs are a little loose at the hem. It hasn’t caused an issue when wearing jeans, but I’m not so sure about clingy fabrics.

Maybe my thighs just aren’t big enough?

In any case, the real reason for wanting this was to help keep “things” in place and reduce bulges where there shouldn’t be any and again, wearing denim, I do see a noticeable difference.

Here’s the main thing; wearing this I felt instantly more confident in my presentation. The padding gives me the shape I have long wanted/expected and the flatter tummy is a bonus.

I can’t say this is for everyone, it really depends on what sort of look your after and how concerned you might be about unexpected bulges or movement “down there.”

I think, for me, this has been an excellent investment, though I can’t say with 100% certainly until I’ve had it for a few months. At some point, unless something goes wrong, I’ll try and write another review and let you know how it performs long term.

What’s Under There?

I haven’t spoken too much about those things I need to feel more comfortable with myself and my appearance. I’m not sure why… maybe I’m a little embarrassed I need the help?

Anyway, I thought I would share some of my little secrets…

First off, a needed boost in the chest department.

Enhancers

Lingerie Solutions – Enhancers Silicone Bust Enlarging Bra Pads

I’m so glad A found these. They have made a real difference in my self confidence and comfort level.

They aren’t anything fancy such as the many breast forms out there, but they provide what I need and the cost was much more affordable,

From the Wal-Mart website:

Lingerie Solutions-Enhancers Bust Enlarging Silicone Bra Pads are push-up bra pads that allow you to accent your natural shape while giving you added push-up and cleavage. The bra pads are made with a 100 percent polyurethane covering and a 100 percent silicone interior. To use, simply insert these silicone bra enhancers into the bra pockets.Lingerie Solutions – Enhancers Silicone Bust Enlarging Bra Pads:100% polyurethane covering with 100% silicone interiorAccent your natural shape while giving you added push-up and cleavageSimply insert the enhancers into the bra pockets.

They are very comfortable and after awhile you forget they aren’t a part of you.

 

As Seen on TV Genie Bra XL, Black/Nude, 2-Pack (I think everything in Wal-Mart is “As Seen On TV” these days.)

Genie bra

From the Wal-Mart website:

Designed for comfort, support and style, this As Seen On TV Genie Bra XL makes a star-quality foundation for your wardrobe. Featuring a woven everlast comfort stretch fabric and form-fitting seamless construction, this 2-pack Black/Nude As Seen on TV Genie Bras will provide you with all-day comfort. The cups of this woven bra stretch to conform to your shape, and it has a magic pouch to slip in support pads for extra lift and coverage. The wide comfort-life band prevents rolling. With no wires or hooks, the As Seen on TV Genie Bra XL is machine washable and is designed to retain its shape through the wash.As Seen on TV Genie Bra XL, Black/Nude, 2-Pack:Woven everlast comfort stretch fabricForm-fitting seamless constructionCups stretch to conform to your shapeMagic pouch to slip in support pads for extra lift and coverageNo wires or hooksWide comfort-life band — no more rollingMachine washable — never loses shape.

 

And the real Tour de Force, which is in transit as we speak…

Underworks Rear and Hip Padded Brief

Underworks Padded Brief

From their website:

An instant derriere and rear enhancing brief that gives you a shapely and toned look in a “smooth and firm” spandex nylon that truly fits and feels smooth and flattering. Pads on rear and side are from a proprietary Underworks® exclusive mold that are perfectly formed to conform to your body while enhancing your shape and providing you with the curves you need so you look natural under anything you wear. No protruding pads, no unsightly lines, no unnatural hills and valleys, just a smooth blending of your body and a perfect enhancing partner. The enhance panty also flattens your tummy and features garter tabs. Pads are removable and washable. Made in U.S.A. of nylon and spandex smooth and firm fabric.

This should arrive by Friday.

 

One of the things I have had some difficulty with has been getting past some of my reservations regarding needing help with my physical presentation… In other words, there have been times when just ordering these things made me worry I was just a cross dresser with delusions of grander. In my head I know better, but sometimes my heart doesn’t listen…

 

I also know there are many women in the world who need and use the same products, yet it still leaves me with an uneasy feeling. Funny, when I really stop and think about it, even HRT would put me into an artificial state as it requires medical intervention… it isn’t “natural” which is what my I really want… but then, don’t we all?

Seriously, I have been told many times over the past several months I think too much. That I worry about things no one even thinks about and I suppose it’s true. Even without any of this I have been gendered as female more often than not. So maybe I am projecting my fears onto others…

On a similar note…

I have looked into voice lessons more than once and what I found interesting is the claim they can help you “pass” (THAT word again…) even over the phone which is really funny since most people assume I’m female when we speak. Even when I have to use my birth name, there is always that hint of disbelief while they speak to me… you know, that slight, are you serious? hesitation before they use a male pronoun. The other day I could tell the woman on the other end didn’t completely buy the idea she was speaking to a male. I even tried to roughen up my voice a little, but I don’t think it made an ounce of difference in her mind.

Well, getting this out has helped me to get out of my head as it were and now maybe I can let a little more of this go until I don’t even think of it. 

Question and Answer

The question:

“Suppose you discovered that God hadn’t turned his back on you and you could still go to heaven. What would that mean for you/the rest of your life? Do you see that fixing problems or creating them, or both?”

My answer:

“I’ve had to think about your question and how I should answer. This is something which has and continues to weigh upon me with each passing day. 

There isn’t one simple answer to this, as much as I wish there were. You see, I think it depends on this… Am I accepted by Him as I am? A flawed, broken woman who resides in this flesh or in spite of this? I understand saved by grace and I’m not speaking of that, but of knowing if everything I have thought, said, and done over the past several years was part of the path He set me on or my own misguided wanderings in the dark? Have I followed His will or my own?The thought of having wasted what time He has allowed me following my own misguided pride is crushing… 

I can accept how He might have given me these burdens so His will could be shown, but to think I squandered everything? I don’t know.

If an angel suddenly appeared and told me the Father loved me as I am, broken, dirty, and not worth His notice… That He loved the woman I am… then it would be the weight of the world lifted from my shoulders. And if he told me God loved me despite being a silly, misguided, deceived man who had lost his way….

Better to cast me into the fires of hell…

You see, this is my one true fear and has been from the beginning… 
Funny, I just thought about something. I can remember standing in front of the mirror, just a tan towel draped over my head and wishing it was hair instead. Of standing there dressed in my mothers clothes and knowing… knowing, beyond all doubt this is who I am… Not just what, but who. from the top of my head to the tip of my toes.

Can you imagine what it would mean if I could cast my thoughts back to that confused little girl and tell her everything is going to be ok? To tell her God is with her and will never let her walk alone? That she is right, no matter what the world tells her. To be able to go forward held in His embrace…

But what if I stand there on judgment day to be told, “Fool, if not for grace…” 

I have made many, many mistakes in this life, I cannot deny it. I know in the end my salvation lies not with myself but with Him, yet to be told I had wasted the gifts I had been given following a Will-O-Wisp of deception and pride. To know I could have done better than I did… could have been more than I was… could have been a greater witness for Him… and squandered it all on a lie…

You see, I look at this flesh and it tells me one thing. I look to my heart and it tells me another. I have wondered, hoped, cried, prayed, and screamed for understanding. I have asked for wisdom, patience, and forgiveness. Yet at every turn, who I truly am, heart and soul, has reared it’s head telling me I have lived a lie my whole life. Instead of putting my faith in Him and following the Holy Spirit where He wanted me to be… I caved in to worldly pressures, struggling in vain to be what those around me insisted I had to be even though I knew… I knew, I knew, I knew, it was wrong. 
Now here I am today, unsure of where I stand. Not because of anything He has done, but because of what I did not do. He never failed me, I failed Him and because of it, I cannot say I would be in the least surprised to find myself on the “Down” elevator instead of the “UP.” 

Not every seed planted grows and thrives… some land on rocky, infertile soil and live only a short time before withering away…

So I wonder, which am I?

To know He was still with me. To know I hadn’t walked away from Him… To know the path I am on is the one He has chosen?  Could simple words ever express what such a thing would mean to me?”

It Really Is Time I Got Over Myself

I have spent quite a bit of time working on this post. Over and over again I thought I had what I wanted to say down in the way I wanted to express myself only to find myself pushing the delete button.

I’m not sure what has made this difficult other than there is so much I wish to talk about my thoughts move faster than my fingers and I lose track of where I am going. Hopefully this time will be the magic time and what I want to say is understandable to anyone outside of my own head…

 

I have been up and down over the past several weeks. Most days have been pretty hum drum with nothing of note happening. As strange as it might sound, this was actually a problem though it took me a while to see it. I mentioned before I am not a weekend only girl. I need to express myself in someway beyond stealth dressing pretty much every day. To do otherwise is to risk putting myself into the wrong frame of mind. 

You see, when I find myself in a mental loop, I tend to find myself hanging onto whatever negative thoughts happen through my head. This has happened more than once with me pondering such things as what am I doing and where do I think I can go? Not being full time equals being a pretender. Then there is the whole, what do people see when they look at me? Do they just see a guy? How could they not… and on and on and on.

I finally reached a point I had to ask myself a question. No self deception, no lies… no bullshit.

Just what does such thoughts do for me? What do I gain by trying to punish  myself with these doubts? Then, even if I succeed in putting myself into a bad place, does it really change anything? Just why is the point of all of these thoughts and emotions?

Then I realized the answer was…

Nothing.

There really is no point to all of this. Nothing is going the change just because I insist on hurting myself. I can’t go back and pretend nothing has happened. I am not who I use to be. I have grown and changed in ways I can’t fully explain. The real question here is what about me makes me so certain I don’t deserve to be happy? To be myself? To live the life I know I can  live? 

Words spoken 30, 40 or more years ago by people who are no longer a part of my life, some not even alive anymore?

Really? 

Really.

I have lived a lifetime beyond those words and yet I have continued to let them have power over me. They have gained me nothing and almost cost me everything. 

So it’s time to let them rest in the past where they belong. Easier said than done I know, but it can be done and I will do it. I deserve better.

Here is another part of all of this, remaining in “boy mode” for extended time, regardless of the reason causes me issues. I begin to doubt myself. I question why I feel driven to be this person when all the world refuses to except me…

Then I realized something. For most of my life I have been hyper aware of the people around me, every look, every word spoken. Every laugh, every sneer… anything and everything. All of it I felt directed at me even when common sense says I’m over reacting. I mentioned this to Jodi and she told me it was a self confidence issue. Which makes what has been happening rather remarkable when I stop to think about it… 

I have been going out each weekend as myself. As Kira and you know what? I haven’t once thought about what anyone else thinks or says about me. It would be different if someone confronted me of course, but as long as they don’t… then I simply couldn’t care less. 

What a difference…

Now I am making the effort each day to set “him” aside and just be myself and it is making a difference. Even those times when I catch myself thinking about the way I walk, the way I talk, my mannerisms… they are passing and cannot affect me the way they use to. 

I simply cannot make the emotional connections I use to. Yes these are things I wonder about but they cannot set their hooks into me and drag me down into those deep, dark places.

The thing is; I asked myself something the other day… Why is it I can walk though a crowded store and be unaffected by the people around me when simply walking down the street as a “guy” can induce depression? Does what anyone thinks make any difference in either case?

No.

It isn’t about anyone but me.

It matters to me and therefore I project onto those around me and doing so serves no good purpose so I need to stop doing it.

I know it isn’t going to be easy, not any more than letting go of the past, but this too can be done.

Now I am going to talk about what makes it seem so ridiculous to me now that I still have these thoughts and feelings of not being completely authentic in simply being myself…

Each of these weekends in which I have spent the entire day as myself; I have been repeatedly greeted with female pronouns and treated as a lady without question.

I’ve lost count of how many times A and I walked into a store to be asked, “How are you ladies doing?” or “How can I help you ladies?”

I think that really should settle matters, don’t you?

Each of these times has been without make up or a wig. Just having pulled my hair back into a ponytail or wearing a hat… (which by the way I have been told is very cute.)

So, just being natural, just being confident in myself and comfortable in my own skin… I have been correctly gendered time and time again. It really is time I got over myself and just be myself.

So Far

I had set out to write an epic post covering the past two weeks when, halfway through I realized sharing every little detail wasn’t as important as writing about what I learned.

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the “how” and loose sight of the “why.” Which is why taking a step away has proven to be a good thing, and I suppose is yet another lesson I have learned for the week.

The most important things I have learned so far:

It doesn’t pay to be lazy or to take the easy road. Some things are worth the effort.

I am NOT a weekend only girl. Why I thought I could live with being comfortable with myself only two days a week, (or less), is simply beyond me. Regardless of any other consideration, I am me 24/7 and trying to hide this truth, even when it is convenient, isn’t worth the issues it causes. So from now on I spend sometime for myself each day.

I can only take responsibility for my own thoughts and feelings. It is NOT my place or right to take responsibility or anyone else. In truth it is rather disrespectful.

And last, but most importantly… I have an incredible person in my life who is not only my partner, she is also my best friend and I am blessed beyond words to have her beside me each day.

In Response

For some reason WordPress isn’t allowing me to access my Notifications through any of my browsers, (Chrome, Safari). I can still answer short comments via my phone but detail responses are difficult.

So, because I felt it was important to respond to one comment in particular, I am doing so here instead, I hope Robin doesn’t mind.

Let me copy her comment here and then I will respond below.

“I found that while I had to wait, going to a gender therapist to confirm what I knew in my heart was very affirming and helped a little. Daily application of moisturizer and shaving almost all of my body hair helped, too. Sometimes, since I had to work in “boy mode”, wearing something feminine underneath (bra, panties, maybe a chemise) helped… all stuff that no one noticed (despite my fear it would be glaringly obvious).

I also recommend you start shopping for wardrobe *now*. Shoes, coats, gloves, scarves, hats, skirts, blouses… all of it. You will need an obscene amount of clothing when you do go full time… and buying pretty things (even if you’re on a thrift store budget like I am) can help.

Also, remember you are on a process… it won’t happen overnight, but little by little you will get there. *hug*”

 

Robin,

I am currently in therapy, though not with a GS. Unfortunately the nearest ones are in Chicago which is a three hour drive.Still my therapist, Jodi, has been a tremendous help for me in working through many issues and I am thankful to her for her support.

As for my “stealth” presentation… Mostly this is an issue when it comes to work. I am not conformable with the idea of coming out to my employer or coworkers and I have to admit I might never be. So I will continue to present as male there for the foreseeable future, though I admit this might have to change at some point.

Because of this, I do some similar things to yourself; using moisturizer, body shaving, using Secret instead of men’s Speed Stick, I have also let my hair and nails grow out, wear a pony tail and clear nail strengthener in place of polish. All of these things do help, though it often the use of my birth name and male pronouns which cause the most problems.

On the issue of dressing; for work I have found there is little difference between what I use to wear and what I do now. In fact, no one has really noticed the slight changes I have made which are more about being comfortable rather than obviously feminine. T-shirts, sweat shirts, jeans. All of this is pretty gender neutral outside of sizes and fabrics and who looks so close anyway?

Away from work is a different story and here I have to say my dysphoria is more about my internal dialogue than it is about other’s reactions.

I have breast “enhancers”, silicone shapers, which give me the correct shape. I wear pretty much women’s clothing exclusively although I do often wear those same T-shirts, sweat shirts, and jeans as I do to work depending on my mood and how lazy I feel. 

 I really do have a decent wardrobe at this point, tops, pants, black and blue jeans, mock necks, turtle necks, sweaters, cardigans, pullovers, some button up blouses, three quarter and full sleeves. I happen to have some tattoos). I also have a decent collection of shoes and boots including flats and heels, sneakers and even a pair of furry house boots.

I also have acquired some jewelry, a necklace, a bracelet, and ring which I often wear regardless of how I want people to see me.

In addition I also have a Winter coat and a leather jacket for Spring and Fall. I have several scarves, though I want to get more and two purses, one with matching wallet.

I also have two wigs, though how often and where I wear them is a point of contention with my partner. If you look through my posts or “About” page you can see me with them on.

99% of my shopping is through thrift store, consignment shops, and garage sales. As I like to say, I have champaign taste on a beer pocketbook!

If I buy anything new it is only when there is a great sale.

Now, as I mentioned earlier, much of my current problems are internal. It is the way I project my fears and expectations onto those around me and not the way I have been spoken to or treated. In fact, as time passes I find I am greeted with female pronouns and generally treated as a woman more often than not. Those time when I am not, it is because I have had to use my birth name or am presenting androgynously enough the other person isn’t sure how to address me.

The fact I am so often aware of those things which I feel mark me as “different” is more on me than anyone, after all, I am the most aware of those things being an issue, most people don’t even notice. This is true of my voice which is a major sticking point to me. I have been told time and again it is more than passing, yet to me it is completely wrong… I don’t know what I think it should be, but it isn’t what I hear. 

As for the other part… well, there are ways of reducing how noticeable such things are and I am looking into those. Thankfully they aren’t overly expensive as such things go and I plan to have something before Summer arrives.

 

Let me add something here… In the end it doesn’t matter what I do, what procedures I have done, what training I engage in; there is only so far I can go in transition.

There will be a point beyond which I cannot pass, after all, my past is what it is and cannot be changed. Also there is basic biological differences between what I can achieve and what I would have been born with… bone structure, nerve endings, skin texture, hair texture… there is quite a list of what will always set me apart from my sisters. The thing is, only I can come to terms with such things. Only I can become fully comfortable in my own skin. There is no magic pill for it. I have to do it for myself and this is what I am struggling with at the moment. 

Yet you know something?

Right now, with all of the ups and downs, doubts and fears… I feel more complete and at peace with myself than I have err felt in my life.

I can look in the mirror, see who is there and smile because, makeup or no, hair or no, half asleep or wide awake, it is me there and she is a beautiful person.

Thoughts

I am simply going to write what comes into my mind tonight… I can’t think of another way to get through this.

 

The past few weeks have been physically, emotionally, and mentally draining. Much of it is due to having one or more of the kids home for either being sick or snow days. It has left me with very little down time to let my mind unwind. In fact, the first time I had all to myself was the past Saturday during the 20 minute drive to therapy. Yet even then, while I felt a sense of peace, there was a layer of numbness as well. 

During this time I have been having some issues. A feeling of being outside of everything. I felt as if I am not an “Other” but more of a “Neither.” 

I am neither male nor female. There is no where I fit. When I present as male, I feel wrong, out of place. As if I’m wrapped in a cocoon of deception. Every time I have heard ‘Greg’, it has been like a slap in the face. An almost physical blow. 

Yet when I present as female I am hyper aware of the things which make me anything but. My throat, my skin… “down there”… especially that. I find myself ashamed of this body… afraid it will betray me… I just wish it wasn’t there… that I would wake up from this nightmare and find myself as I need to be….

Is this dysphoria? I don’t know… It doesn’t really matter what name I use for it. It makes me want to break down. To cry until there are no more tears… It makes me sick to my stomach…. 

I keep asking myself why I can’t I accept things the way they are… Yet I know I cannot. I have never been be able to… not really. I tried to bury it with drugs and alcohol. I tried to burn it out with anger and self hatred. I tried to ignore it. To pretend I was like the people around me… 

But it wasn’t until I had no choice but to look at myself honestly. To acknowledge a truth which I had tried to hard to deny… Only then did I begin to find a measure of peace within myself…

How could I ever return to what I was… to who I was?

Yet I don’t know how to move forward either… not yet.